The Devil is in the Details
By: Patti Bankson
Details matter. Ask Californian, Ron Garber. California divorce law mandates that alimony (spousal support) ends when an ex-spouse remarries. But a county court ordered him to continue payments of $1,250 per month to his ex-wife, Melinda Kirkwood, despite the fact that sheâ€™s now in a registered domestic partnership. Not so minor detail: with another woman.
In September, 2005 Californiaâ€™s state legislators voted to allow marriage between homosexual couples. Later that month Gov. Schwarzenegger used his veto power to terminate the legislation. Not that it matters because The California Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act of 2003, (effective January 1, 2005) grants â€˜partnersâ€™ who register with the CA Secretary of State the â€œsame rights, protections, and benefits,” and imposes upon them the “same responsibilities, obligations, and duties” as are granted to and imposed upon spouses under the law, “whether they derive from statutes, administrative regulations, court rules, government policies, common law or any other provisions or sources of law.” So, registering as domestic partners doesnâ€™t make them â€˜marriedâ€™ or â€˜spousesâ€™ under California law, but essentially they are â€˜marriedâ€™ or â€˜spousesâ€™ under California law. That means that in 2000 when the citizens of California voted overwhelmingly in favor of Proposition 22 – which defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman- they won the battle, but lost the war.
If you question the true intent here, look at the details in Californiaâ€™s Family Code, Sections 297-297.5. Domestic Partners are: â€œtwo adults who have chosen to share one anotherâ€™s lives in an intimate and committed relationship of mutual caringâ€… Additionally, the partnership must meet all the following requirements: (1) Both persons have a common residence (2) Neither is married to someone else or is a member of another domestic partnership with someone else that has not been terminated, dissolved, or adjudged a nullity (3) The two persons are not related by blood in any way that would prevent them from being married to each other in this state (4) Both persons are at least 18 years of age (5) Either of the following: (a) Both persons are members of the same sex (b) one or both meet the eligibility criteria under Title II of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 402a for old-age insurance benefits) or Title XVI of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 1381 for aged individuals. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, persons of opposite sexes may not constitute a domestic partnership unless one or both of the persons are over the age of 62.
Voila! There it is, the homosexual Mission Accomplished… same sex marriage. And thereâ€™s poor Ron Garber, caught between a rock and a hard place. And, of course, there is his ex-wifeâ€™s ticket to ride… for a long time.
Gustave Flaubert (1821-80) is quoted as saying, â€˜Le bon Dieu est dans let detailâ€™. Translated: God is in the details. Not surprisingly, in a society where fewer and fewer see God anywhere, in anything, that quote has been flipped on its head and has become, â€˜The devil is in the details.â€™ So, whatever you may believe about same-sex marriages, domestic partnership is definitely the detail in which the devil resides in California.
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